At around 4pm this afternoon my finger hovered over a button marked 'submit' as I wondered if there was anything more we could do to strengthen our Lottery application. Well, if there was, it hadn't been omitted for the want of searching. So 'click' and away went the outcome of months of hard graft. Our application to the Lottery's 'Resilient Heritage' fund for the money to fund a full survey, feasibility study, costings, and concept design by John Coward Architects of Cartmel has today been formally submitted. We should know the outcome within eight weeks. If successful, we will ask JCA to move on with the work as soon as possible and following that, we will work with JCA and our advisors at the Heritage Lottery Fund to assemble our application for the much greater sum required to buy and renovate the property.
It seems like a long haul just to get this far! There have been a couple of detours and hold-ups along the way, and obtaining the right information and portraying it in the correct manner has been an interesting task, but I believe we have assembled the best possible case and now we'll just have to wait and hope for a favourable outcome.
Huge thanks for their hard work and support go to the members of the Society's working group, especially Sue Dawson and Janice Brockbank, without whom we would not be anywhere near this position.
Our application was accompanied by the maximum number of Statements of Support that we were allowed, from Millom Town Council, Millom Network Centre, Partnership of Millom Schools, University of Cumbria, John Rylands Library in Manchester and University of Nottingham. These statements show that we have the backing of the local community, and also that organisations far from Millom also want to see this house preserved and developed. We also notified the Lottery officials of our full list of 14 patrons along with the many supportive messages we have received from them.
So right now I feel a sense of relief that we've reached this milestone. Next will be playing the waiting game as we hope for a favourable response.
This week we've received two pieces of good news as we edge ever closer towards the submission of our application to the Lottery's 'Resilient Heritage' fund. We've received written statements of support from Millom Town Council and Millom Network Centre. It's important that our application to the Lottery shows that our project is not just something to keep a group of poetry enthusiasts happy, but that it has wider relevance and these two statements certainly achieve that. The backing of the town council is invaluable. It makes it crystal clear that Norman Nicholson's legacy is something to be cherished in Millom, and that they see the project as having an important role to play in the life of the town well into the future. Millom Network Centre is a key business hub in the town, and their support shows that a redeveloped Nicholson House can have a very positive impact on business. We're immensely grateful to both organisations. Thanks also to everyone who came to the Nicholson celebration in St George's Church on June 3rd, some travelling a good distance to be there (any advance on Sheffield??). It was a lovely afternoon, and wonderful to revel in Norman's words brought to life by a rich variety of readers, ranging from a pupil of Haverigg Primary School, Sophie, to Norman's own cousin, Doreen. Christine Boyce was also a huge hit, talking about her designing of the Nicholson Memorial Window - we could probably have devoted the entire afternoon to Christine, but it all came together to give us a day to remember.
Charlie Lambert, chair of the Norman Nicholson Society